The Slatest

Trump, Laboring to Breathe, Says He’s Fine and Everything Else Will Be Too if You Just Believe Him

Trump, wearing a suit, salutes while standing outside the White House after returning from Walter Reed Medical Center.
Could someone sick do this? Win McNamee/Getty Images

President Donald Trump left Walter Reed Medical Center on Monday night, declaring himself healthy days after testing positive for COVID-19. Trump, to be clear, is almost certainly still contagious and even his doctor—who is obsequious to the point of malpractice—says he’s “not out of the woods yet.” In fact, he’s likely just entering the woods. But Trump was bored or concerned about his image as a toxic man-patient and decided that putting on a suit and saying he was fine and healthy was the same thing as being fine and healthy.

It seems like Trump was going for a real FDR moment but instead was laying down end of days messianic dictator vibes. We’ll have to wait for the polling, or actual voting, but the painfully forced theatrics might juuust be coming off to the American people more like the crazy uncle who’s lost it and checked himself out of the hospital against medical advice and now is standing on your front doorstep wearing a hospital gown wanting to run the government again. Despite the propaganda of personal wellness whirling in Trump’s head, during his return to the White House, when not staging his own vitality, the president looked bad. And his breathing appeared labored.

Everything’s totally fine! We’re careening back to the GOP talking point that the coronavirus is really just like the flu. Take Republican Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, who literally just tested positive last week along with the leader of his party, telling a conservative talk show that there is currently, ahem, “unjustifiable hysteria” about the coronavirus. “Why do we think we actually can stop the progression of a contagious disease?” Johnson asked, stopping short of saying only Jesus can do that. “[F]rom Day One, we never should have gone through the shutdowns. … We’ve got to carry on with our lives.”